Dogs: Related Cases

Case namesort descending Citation Summary
Roose v. State of Indiana 610 N.E.2d 256 (1993)

Defendant was charged with criminal mischief and cruelty to an animal after dragging it with his car. The court concluded that, although some of the photos admitted were gruesome, the municipal court validly admitted the photos of the dog that defendant injured into evidence because the photos clearly aided the jury in understanding the nature of those injuries and the veterinarian's testimony as to the medical attention that the dog received.

Rotunda v. Haynes 33 Misc.3d 68 (App. Term 2011) The plaintiff in this case filed suit against the defendant, a dog breeder, to recover medical fees after receiving a dog that had a “severe genetic heart defect.” The dog was purchased by a third party and given to plaintiff as a gift. The court in this case held that the plaintiff was not entitled to damages under the General Business Law or the Uniform Commercial Code. The court held that the plaintiff was not entitled to damages under the General Business Law because the dog was not actually purchased by plaintiff. In addition, the plaintiff was not entitled to recover under the Uniform Commercial Code because plaintiff was unable to establish “privity with the defendant or personal injuries arising from the alleged defect,” which are required in order to recover damages. The judgment was affirmed.
Rowbotham v. Maher 658 A.2d 912 (R.I. 1995)

The plaintiff argues that G.L. 1956 (1987 Reenactment) § 4-13-16 permits recovery for indirect injuries, specifically including emotional trauma resulting from the destruction of property, in this instance the destruction of plaintiff's dog by two other dogs.  The court disagrees, finding that under § 4-13-16, a person may recover damages in a civil action from a dog owner where the dog causes an injury to a person or to another domestic animal, and nothing in the statute permits recovery for emotional trauma.  With regard to the negligent infliction of emotional distress claim, the court notes that in this jurisdiction a third party may recover if, inter alia, the party is a close relative of the victim, which was not the case here. 

Rowlette v. Paul 466 S.E.2d 37 (Ga. 1995) This Georgia case involved a dog bite to a person who went to went to the Pauls' house in order to verify and update information for the Oglethorpe County Tax Assessor's Office.  The court held that in the absence of any evidence showing that the owners of a dog had knowledge, prior to a mauling incident, that their dog had ever bitten another human being, the owners of the dog were not liable to the victim even though the dog's presence on the premises where the incident occurred was in violation of the county leash law.  In order to support an action for damages under OCGA § 51-2-7, it is necessary to show that the dog was vicious or dangerous and that the owner had knowledge of this fact.
RSPCA v Harrison (1999) 204 LSJS 345

The respondent was the owner of a dog which was found with skin ulcerations, larval infestations and saturated in urine. On appeal, it was found that the trial judge failed to give proper weight to cumulative circumstantial evidence as to the respondent's awareness of the dog's condition. It was also found that 'illness' was intended to cover a wide field of unhealthy conditions and included the larval infestation. The respondent was convicted and fined.

RSPCA v. Stojcevski 2002 WL 228890, 134 A Crim R 441

Appeal against the order of the Magistrate dismissing a complaint - prevention of cruelty to animals - respondent charged with ill treating an animal in that failed to take reasonable steps to alleviate any pain suffered by the animal who had a fractured leg bone contrary to sec 13(1) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1985. Dismissal was upheld and court found that defendant did not understand dog was in pain and had and was going to take reasonable steps.

Ruffin v. Wood 95 A.D.3d 1290 (N.Y.A.D. 2 Dept.)

While the plaintiff was tending her garden, the defendant's dog jumped on a chain-linked fence that separated the plaintiff's and defendant's property. Startled, the plaintiff fell and injured herself. As a result of the incident, the plaintiff brought a personal injury suit against the defendant. Finding the dog had no vicious propensities, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant; the plaintiff then appealed and lost.

Rule v. Fort Dodge Animal Health, Inc. 604 F.Supp.2d 288 (D.Mass.,2009)

The plaintiff brought this action against Defendants Fort Dodge Animal Health, Inc. and Wyeth Corporation, seeking economic damages suffered from the purchase and injection of her dog with ProHeart® 6 to prevent heartworm. The complaint alleged products liability/failure to warn, breach of implied warranty of merchantability, and violation of state deceptive business practices, among others. In 2004, defendants recalled ProHeart® 6 in response to a request by FDA due to reported adverse reactions. This Court found that Massachusetts law follows the traditional “economic loss rule,” where such losses are not recoverable in in tort and strict liability actions where there has been no personal injury or property damage. Here, the plaintiff was barred from recovering because she has not alleged any personal injury or property damage under her products liability claim. Further, plaintiff failed to show that defendants' deceptive act caused some injury and compsensable loss. Defendants' motion to dismiss was granted.

Russell v. Rivera 780 N.Y.S.2d 699

Passerby sued dog owner for bitten finger.  Held:  because dog had shown no previous vicious propensities, the owner is not strictly liable, and, the owner was not negligent.  Reversed.

Sacco v. Tate 175 Misc.2d 901 (N.Y. 1998)

Plaintiffs commenced the instant action to recover veterinary expenses incurred by reason of the fact that the dog sold to them by defendant was not healthy. The court held that plaintiffs were not entitled to avail themselves of the remedies afforded by article 35-D of the General Business Law by reason of their failure to comply with the requirements set forth in section 753 thereof (to wit, they did not produce the dog for examination by a licensed veterinarian designated by the dealer, nor did they furnish the dealer with a certification of unfitness of the dog within three days after their receipt thereof). The court, however, noted that the article does not limit the rights or remedies which are otherwise available to a consumer under any other law, so the award by the court was affirmed (albeit on a different basis).

Salinas v. Martin 166 Cal.App.4th 404

Construction worker brought negligence action against homeowner for injuries sustained by another contractor's pit-bull dog, after homeowner had given the contractor permission to allow the dog to run loose on homeowner's property. The Court of Appeal, First District, Division 1, California, held that a landlord does not generally owe a duty to protect third parties from injuries by his or her tenant's dangerous dog without actual knowledge of the dog's dangerous propensities and ability to prevent or control the harm. However, a homeowner, who maintains possession of and control over the premises, and thus is not acting as a landlord, is not required to have actual knowledge of a dog's dangerous propensities to owe a duty of care to his or her invitees.  

SAM LAMBERT & ANDRIA LAMBERT v. SALLY MORRIS & STEVE HAIR --- S.E.2d ----, 2018 WL 6314142 (N.C. Ct. App. Dec. 4, 2018) Plaintiffs Sam Lambert and Andria Lambert appeal the trial court's granting of summary judgment in this lost dog case. Specifically, plaintiffs filed an action against defendants Sally Morris and Steve Hair alleging conversion, civil conspiracy, unfair and deceptive trade practices, and intentional or reckless infliction of emotional distress, as well as injunctive relief and damages related to the disappearance of their dog, Biscuit. Biscuit went missing in August of 2015. After searching for Biscuit for several days, plaintiffs contacted the local animal control and posted Biscuit as a lost dog on animal control's unofficial Facebook page. Over a month later, a citizen brought Biscuit (who had no microchip or collar on) to animal control where she was placed in a holding cell. After the 72-hour hold, Biscuit was transferred to the Humane Society. Biscuit was spayed and examined by a veterinarian, and a picture was posted on the Humane Society website. At the vet exam, tumors were discovered in Biscuit's mammary glands and so surgery was performed, some of it paid for by defendant Hair. Hair eventually adopted Biscuit. Almost a year later, plaintiffs found an old picture of Biscuit on the Humane Society Facebook page and attempted to claim Biscuit. Defendant Hair learned of this and requested that plaintiffs reimburse for veterinary expenses, to which they agreed. After some discussion, Hair learned plaintiffs had over 14 dogs and refused to return Biscuit without a home inspection. That caused a heated discussion and the meeting between plaintiffs and defendant ended without the dog returning. About a month later, plaintiffs filed suit against defendants, whereupon defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. On appeal here, the court first noted that, per state law, an animal shelter hold a lost or abandoned dog for at least 72-hours. Here, animal control satisfied its legal duty by keeping Biscuit in custody for the required holding period before transferring her to the Humane Society. Thus, plaintiffs lost any ownership rights to Biscuit after the 72-hour mark. Moreover, almost a month had passed between the time Biscuit was taken in by animal control and the formal adoption by defendant Hair at the Humane Society. As a result, the court found that Hair was the rightful owner of Biscuit and was entitled to negotiate with plaintiffs as he saw fit. Thus, no genuine issues of material fact existed for plaintiffs at trial. Accordingly, the trial court did not err in granting summary judgment to defendants and dismissing plaintiffs’ claims.
San Jose Charter of Hells Angels Motorcycle Club v. City of San Jose 402 F.3d 962 (C.A.9 (Cal.),2005)

In this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Defendants-Appellants, seven San Jose City Police Officers and Deputy Sheriff Linderman, appeal from an order of the district court denying in part their motions for qualified immunity. This action arises out of the simultaneous execution of search warrants at the residences of members of the Hells Angels, and at the Hells Angels clubhouse on January 21, 1998. While executing search warrants at two plaintiffs' residences, the officers shot a total of three dogs. This court held that the shooting of the dogs at the Vieira and Souza residences was an unreasonable seizure, and an unreasonable execution of the search warrants, in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Exigent circumstances did not exist at either residence, as the officers had a week to consider the options and tactics available for an encounter with the dogs. The unlawfulness of the officers' conduct would have been apparent to a reasonable officer at the time the officers planned for serving the search warrants.

Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center, Inc. v. County of Los Angeles 313 Cal. Rptr. 3d 566 (2023), reh'g denied (Oct. 16, 2023), review denied (Dec. 13, 2023) This case was brought by plaintiff-appellants, several no-kill animal shelters, against defendant-appellee the County of Los Angeles. Plaintiffs filed a petition for writ of mandate against defendant seeking to compel the release of impounded dogs scheduled for euthanasia to plaintiffs. The court sustained defendant’s demurrer without leave to amend, and this appeal followed. Plaintiffs argue on appeal that the Hayden Act imposes a duty on defendant to release the dogs scheduled for euthanasia to plaintiffs. First, the court asked whether defendant had discretion to refuse to release, and then to euthanize, a dog deemed to have behavioral problems when release has been requested by a non-profit animal adoption or rescue organization? Second, the court asked if defendant had discretion to determine and impose requirements for organizations that claim to be animal rescue or adoption organizations to qualify as such, beyond simply ensuring that the organizations are non-profits under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code? The court examined the relevant code, which stated that “any stray dog that is impounded pursuant to this division shall, before the euthanasia of that animal, be released to a nonprofit” and agreed with plaintiffs’ argument that the use of the word shall indicates that the legislature intended to impose a duty on defendant to release these dogs upon request to qualified nonprofit animal rescue or adoption agencies. The court also concluded that the demurrer was improperly granted as defendant lacked discretion to withhold and euthanize a dog based upon its determination that the animal has a behavioral problem or is not adoptable or treatable. The court agreed, however, that defendant had discretion to determine whether and how a non-profit organization qualifies as an animal adoption or rescue organization. The court reversed the judgment of the trial court, vacated the trial court’s order sustaining the demurrer without leave to amend, and remanded to the trial court.
Sanzaro v. Ardiente Homeowners Association, LLC --- F.Supp.3d ----, 2019 WL 1049380 (D. Nev. Mar. 5, 2019) Deborah Sanzaro and Michael Sanzaro are the plaintiffs in this action. Plaintiffs are homeowners and members of a homeowners association ("HOA"). Three incidents occurred at the HOA clubhouse in which Deborah Sanzaro attempted to enter with her Chihuahua, which she claimed was a service animal. In each of these three incidents, Deborah was denied access to the clubhouse. The first incident occurred on March 11, 2009. Deborah entered the club house with her dog and the manager of the HOA asked her why she brought the dog into the clubhouse with her. Deborah explained that her dog assisted her with her disability and was a service animal, however, she could not provide any documentation to the manager as to that effect. She was then asked to leave the clubhouse to which she refused. Only after security was called did Deborah leave. Later, on that same day, Deborah entered the clubhouse with her service dog without any incident. The HOA sent a letter to the plaintiffs after the first incident notifying them that that Deborah had violated the HOA’s governing documents and that a hearing before the HOA board would take place on March 30, 2009. Plaintiffs never showed for this hearing which ultimately resulted in the Board finding that Deborah violated HOA rules and regulations by entering the clubhouse with her dog and not providing documentation. Deborah was assessed multiple fines. Prior to the hearing, the HOA sent out letters to the other residents letting them know that they would accommodate any legitimate service animal if their staff is properly advised of such. They also mailed out a letter regarding the incident with the plaintiffs to all of the other residents. The plaintiffs began to receive hate mail and verbal harassment regarding their dispute with the HOA board. The plaintiffs received many threats and had their property defaced by an anonymous homeowner who spray painted their garage door telling them to get out of the neighborhood. The HOA did nothing to stop this harassment. Plaintiffs filed a complaint with the Nevada Real Estate Division and their claim was submitted to a non-binding arbitrator. Deborah provided a doctor’s statement requesting that her dog be registered as a service dog, a notice of entitlement to disability benefits from the SSA, a doctor’s statement regarding Deborah’s disability, and a statement from Deborah explaining how her dog had been trained to assist her. The Arbitrator found for the Ardiente Homeowners Association because she did not find Deborah’s explanation as to why she needed the dog as being persuasive. The arbitration decision was upheld by the Eighth Judicial District Court of Clark County, Nevada as well as by the Nevada Supreme Court. On July 26, 2010, Plaintiffs entered the clubhouse again with the dog. They were told that they could not come in unless they provided more documentation despite the documentation that the Deborah had provided during the arbitration proceeding. On January 29, 2011 the plaintiffs entered the clubhouse again with the dog and they were again denied entry until the plaintiffs could provide documentation that the dog was a registered service animal. The HOA eventually foreclosed on the plaintiff’s home in order to recover the fines and attorney’s fees that were owed. Plaintiffs then brought 102 causes of action in federal court under the ADA and FHA which were pared down to two questions: (1) whether the HOA clubhouse was a place of public accommodation under the ADA and NRS § 651.075, and (2) whether Plaintiffs requested, and were ultimately refused, a reasonable accommodation under the FHA. For the plaintiff ADA claims, the District Court found that Deborah is disabled as a matter of law and that the HOA and other defendants were aware of her disability at least as of July 27, 2009 (the date of the arbitration). The Court also found that the clubhouse was not a place of public accommodation and that the entire community including the clubhouse was a private establishment. As a result the plaintiffs were not able to establish a claim for disability discrimination under the ADA. For the plaintiff’s FHA claims, the Court found the following: Deborah was qualified as handicapped under the FHA; the defendants were reasonably expected to know about her handicap; an accommodation was necessary for Deborah to use the clubhouse; the dog qualified as a service animal and permitting the dog to accompany Deborah was a reasonable accommodation; and the defendants refused to make the requested accommodation which makes them liable. For the Nevada law claim, it failed because the community and clubhouse are a private establishment and were not considered public accommodations. Plaintiffs were entitled to damages for their FHA claims only. The Court ultimately found in favor of the plaintiffs and awarded $350,000 in compensatory damages, $285,000 in punitive damages and attorneys’ fees and costs of litigation.
Sarno v. Kelly 78 A.D.3d 1157 (N.Y.A.D. 2 Dept.. 2010)

A dog bite victim sought damages against absentee landlords after the tenant's bull mastiff dog bit him in right thigh. The deposition testimony of one landlord indicated that he visited the rental house approximately once per month to collect rent and check on the house in general, and only on two of those occasions did he see the dog. During one of these visits, he petted the dog without incident. Thus, the landlord established that he neither knew nor should have known that the dog had vicious propensities, and that he did not have sufficient control over the premises to allow him to remove or confine the dog.

Saulsbury v. Wilson --- S.E.2d ----, 2019 WL 493695 (Ga. Ct. App. Feb. 8, 2019) This Georgia involves an interlocutory appeal arising from a dog bite lawsuit. In 2016, Plaintiff Saulsbury was walking her English Bulldog past Defendant Wilson's house when Wilson's pitbull dog escaped its crate in the open garage. A fight ensued between the dogs. Wilson then attempted to break up the fight and was allegedly bitten by Saulsbury's dog, suffering a broken arm in the process and necessitating a course of rabies shots. The Saulsburys then sued the Wilsons in magistrate court to recover hospital and veterinary expenses. Wilson counterclaimed for her injuries in excess $15,000, thus transferring the case to superior court. At this time, the Saulsburys moved for summary judgment, which the trial court denied. The Court of Appeals here reverses that denial. The court found that Wilson assumed the risk when she intervened in a dog fight with her bare hands. In particular, the court observed that assumption of risk serves as a complete defense to negligence. That finding was bolstered by the fact that Wilson had knowledge that her dog had previously bitten other persons and had admitted to breaking up previous dog fights with a stick. The court relied on previous case law showing that all animals, even domesticated animals, pose a risk as does the act of breaking up even human fights. The court was not persuaded by the fact that Saulsbury may have been in violation of various DeKalb County ordinances related to an owner's responsibility to control his or her animal. A plain reading of those ordinances does not impose a duty on the part of an owner to "dangerously insert herself into a dog fight." The court found the lower court erred in denying the Saulsbury's motion for summary judgment and reversed and remanded the case.
Savory v. Hensick 143 S.W.3d 712 (Mo. 2004)

Contractor brought a premises liability action against homeowners after falling over their dog.  Contractor was descending from a ladder while working on homeowners' premises and stepped on the dog at the base of the ladder.  The trial court held in favor of the contractor because the homeowners' dog made the yard foreseeably dangerous and the appellate court affirmed. 

Sawh v. City of Lino Lakes 823 N.W.2d 627 (Minn.,2012)

A city ordered a dog to be destroyed after three separate biting incidents. Upon the owner’s appeal of the city’s determinations, the appeals court reversed the city’s decision to destroy the dog because the city had not allowed the owner an opportunity to challenge the “potentially dangerous” determination. The appeals court (800 N.W.2d 663 (Minn.App.,2011) held the city had therefore violated the owner’s procedural due process rights. Upon review by the Supreme Court of Minnesota, however, the court held that the owner’s procedural due process rights were not violated because the “potentially dangerous” determination did not deprive the owner of a property interest and because the city satisfied the basic requirements of procedural due process. Additionally, the court found that the dangerous dog and the destruction determinations were not arbitrary or capricious. The court therefore reversed the decision of the court of appeals, upheld the city's “dangerous dog” determination, and affirmed the city's order of destruction.

Sawh v. City of Lino Lakes 800 N.W.2d 663 (Minn.App.,2011)

The city council ordered the destruction of a dog after finding it to be a dangerous animal and the owner appealed. The Court of Appeals held that procedural due process required that the owner should have been given a meaningful opportunity to contest the declaration of the dog as a “potentially dangerous animal” before it was declared a “dangerous animal” under the city ordinance.

Saxton v. Pets Warehouse 180 Misc.2d 377 (N.Y. 1999)

In this small claims action, the plaintiff purchased an unhealthy dog from defendant that died soon after purchase.  The court held that the plaintiff is not limited to the remedies provided by General Business Law § 753 (1), which sets forth a consumer's right to a refund and/or reimbursement for certain expenses incurred in connection with the purchase of an unhealthy dog or cat, as plaintiff's dog came within the definition of "goods" as set forth in UCC 2-105 and defendant was a "merchant" within the meaning of UCC 2- 104 (1).  Accordingly, plaintiff could recover damages pursuant to UCC 2-714 on the theory that defendant breached the implied warranty of merchantability.  The case was remanded for a new trial to solely on the issue of damages limited to any sales tax paid by plaintiff that was not reimbursed by the insurance policy and the reasonable cost of veterinary expenses incurred.

Scales v. State 601 S.W.3d 380 (Tex. App. 2020) Defendant, Jade Derrick Scales, was convicted of two counts of cruelty to non-livestock animals which constituted a state felony. Michelle Stopka had found two puppies in an alley and took them in. On February 8, 2015, Defendant confronted Stopka in her front yard holding a knife and wearing a mask and brass knuckles. Leonard Wiley, the man Stopka was residing with, confronted the Defendant and a brief confrontation ensued which resulted in both individuals sustaining a cut. Stopka soon discovered that both puppies had been sliced open and were bleeding. The puppies did not survive their injuries. Defendant’s sentence was enhanced to a second-degree felony based on the finding of use or exhibition of a deadly weapon during the commission of, or during immediate flight following, the commission of the offense and the fact that the Defendant had a previous conviction for a second-degree-felony offense of burglary of a habitation. Defendant was sentenced to seven years and a fine of $2,000. The Defendant subsequently appealed. The first issue raised on appeal by the Defendant was the deadly weapon finding which the the Court found was appropriate. The second issue regarded a jury instruction error. The Defendant contended that the trial court erred by failing to instruct the jury that a deadly-weapon finding is only appropriate when the weapon is used or exhibited against a human being. The Court found that although a deadly-weapon instruction should not have been given, the error was not egregious and therefore overruled the issue because a jury could have reasonably believed that the Defendant used the same knife to both inflict wounds upon the puppies and Leonard. The failure to provide such a jury instruction did not materially affect the jury’s deliberations or verdict. The third issue raised by the Defendant was that he was provided ineffective assistance of counsel. The Court overruled this issue as well. The Fourth issue raised by Defendant was that his prosecution was based on two identical indictments for the same conduct committed in one criminal episode which violated double jeopardy and due process principles. The Defendant did not preserve his claim of double jeopardy and the Court further found that two separate dogs were the object of the criminal act and each dog could have been prosecuted separately. No double jeopardy violation was found on the face of the record and, therefore, the Defendant did not qualify for an exception to the preservation rule. The fifth issue Defendant raised was that his sentence was illegal because the range of punishment for the offense for which he was convicted was illegally enhanced. The Court overruled this issue because his conviction was not illegally enhanced. The trial court’s judgment was ultimately affirmed.
Scheele v. Dustin 998 A.2d 697 (Vt.,2010)

A dog that wandered onto defendant’s property was shot and killed by defendant. The dog’s owners sued under an intentional tort theory and a claim for loss of companionship. The Supreme Court upheld the award of economic damages for the intentional destruction of property. It also held that the owners could not recover noneconomic damages for emotional distress under Vermont common law.

Scott v. Donkel 671 So.2d 741 (Ala.Civ.App.,1995)

In this Alabama case, there was an injury to a non-tenant child by a dog bite, and the defendant was a landlord.  The attack occurred off the rented premises in the public street.    The action was based upon negligence, that is, a failure to protect against a dangerous condition.   The key to such a claim is the knowledge of the landlord. Plaintiff presented no evidence of the landlord being aware of the dog let alone that he knew of its vicious propensity.   The court did not find a duty to inspect the premises and discover this information.  The court did not reach the point that the attack occurred off the premises.  The granting of the motion for summary judgment for the landlord was upheld.

SEIDNER v. DILL 206 N.E.2d 636 (Ind.App. 1965)

Charles Dill, appellee, brought this action in the Municipal Court of Marion County, Indiana, therein alleging that the defendant-appellant, Harold Seidner, maliciously and intentionally shot and killed plaintiff's dog. The case essentially involved a companion animal that was shot and killed by the defendant neighbor who alleged that the dog was after his livestock. A statute in Indiana provided that a person was authorized to kill a dog “known” for “roaming” that harmed or threatened to harm the livestock. A verdict of six hundred dollars for the wrongful killing of the dog was affirmed. This case, however, was subsequently overruled  by Puckett v. Miller , 178 Ind. App. 174 (Ind. App. Ct. 1978).

SENTELL v. NEW ORLEANS & C. R. CO. 166 U.S. 698 (1897)

This was an action originally instituted by Sentell in the civil district court for the parish of Orleans, to recover the value of a Newffoundland bitch, known as 'Countess Lona,' alleged to have been negligently killed by the railroad company.  The company answered, denying the allegation of negligence, and set up as a separate defense that plaintiff had not complied either with the requirements of the state law, or of the city ordinances, with respect to the keeping of dogs, and was therefore not entitled to recover.  Recognizing that an owner has only a conditional interest in a dog as a form of property, the Supreme Court held that the Louisiana law was within its police power, and the judgment of the court of appeals against plaintiff was therefore affirmed.

Sentencia Caso Humberto José Saldaña Taboada contra la Municipalidad Provincial de Trujillo - Peru In this case, the plaintiff sued the mayor of Trujillo, Peru, to enforce an ordinance requiring the city to provide shelter for stray dogs. Trujillo lacked a municipal dog shelter and used the Anti-Rabies Center, which did not meet the legal requirements. The city argued that the ordinance aimed to manage potentially dangerous dogs, not to protect abandoned ones, and housed dogs at the Anti-Rabies Center due to their aggressive behavior. The lower courts ruled against the plaintiff, interpreting the ordinance as applying only to potentially dangerous dogs. However, the Constitutional Tribunal found conflicting laws regarding the city's responsibilities and reversed the decision, ordering Trujillo to provide appropriate shelter or collaborate with nonprofits for housing the stray dogs.
Sentencia 09333-2022-00667T - Ecuador Proceso No. 09333-2022-00667T This is the case of four cats (Luna, Manchas, Sonic, and Tiger) and two dogs (Pantera and Noah) that were inside the properties seized by the authorities in a drug trafficking case. Attorney Kevin Prendes Vivar filed a habeas corpus petition for the animals' caretaker, stating that the animals were illegally kept by the "Technical Secretary of Real Estate Management of the Public Sector" or "Inmobiliar," the government agency that seized the properties. The claimant argued that in accordance with the Constitutional Court decision 253-20-JH/22 (Estrellita case), the companion animals in the case are subjects of rights, that were left unattended, exposing them to potential health and well-being concerns, given their emotional attachment to their caretakers. The provincial court of Guyanas granted the habeas corpus, holding that animals are subjects of rights, finding that Inmobiliar had violated the animals' rights by considering them seizable personal property.
Sentencia 09333-2022-00667T - Ecuador Sentencia 09333-2022-00667T Este es el caso de cuatro gatos llamados Luna, Manchas, Sonic y Tiger y dos perros, Pantera y Noah que estaban dentro de las propiedades confiscadas por las autoridades en un caso de tráfico de drogas. El abogado Kevin Prendes Vivar presentó un recurso de habeas corpus en representación de los cuidadores de los animales, alegando que los animales estaban siendo retenidos ilegalmente por el "Secretario Técnico de Gestión Inmobiliaria del Sector Público" o "Inmobiliar", la agencia gubernamental que confiscó las propiedades. El demandante argumentó que los animales, como sujetos de derechos según la decisión de la Corte Constitucional 253-20-JH/22, estaban en un estado de soledad que los ponía en riesgo de problemas de salud y bienestar, ya que estos animales tenían un apego emocional a sus cuidadores. Los animales son seres sensibles diferentes de otros objetos, y su detrimento se refleja en su salud física y emocional, causando condiciones como depresión y ansiedad, condiciones que podrían poner fin potencialmente a su vida. Los animales estaban siendo retenidos por 'Inmobiliar', y los demandantes no habían recibido ninguna información sobre la condición de los animales. Además, los demandantes estaban preocupados por la condicion de los animales ya que no tenian conocimiento acerca de su alimentacion. Especialmente porque 'Inmobiliar' no tenía presupuesto para alimentar a los animales sujetos a confiscaciones. Según loa demandante, los animales eran miembros de su familia, y sus hijos sufrían sin ellos. El tribunal provincial de Guyanas concedió el habeas corpus, sosteniendo que los animales son sujetos de derechos, encontrando que 'Inmobiliar' había violado los derechos de los animales al considerarlos propiedad personal embargable. Por lo tanto, el tribunal determinó que su confiscación era ilegal, arbitraria e ilegítima. Para proteger sus derechos a la vida, la libertad y la integridad, ordenó a 'Inmobiliar' devolver los animales a sus cuidadores. En su análisis, el tribunal afirmó que, según el caso de Estrellita, los animales no deberían ser protegidos únicamente desde una perspectiva del ecosistema o desde la perspectiva de las necesidades humanas, sino más bien desde su individualidad y su valor intrínseco. El tribunal también instruyó a la entidad gubernamental a no considerar más a las "mascotas" como semovientes en futuros procedimientos judiciales, y a distribuir, a través del correo electrónico institucional, a todos sus funcionarios la decisión de la corte constitucional 253-20-JH/22, ordenándoles leerla y analizarla. Esta decisión fue apelada por 'Inmobiliar' y la sala especializada en lo penal de la Corte Provincial de Justicia de Guyanas anuló la decisión que otorgaba el habeas corpus a favor de los animales, afirmando que este mecanismo legal no era apropiado en el caso de animales domésticos. En su fallo, el tribunal ordenó la devolución de los animales a "Inmobiliar". Esta decisión ha sido enviada a la Corte Constitucional para su revisión. Si la corte la selecciona, decidirá si un recurso de habeas corpus es apropiado en casos relacionados específicamente con animales de compañía.
Sentencia 10013-103027-2023-00229-00 (0327) - Simona - Colombia (2023) Tribunal Superior de Bogotá, Sala Mixta, Sentencia del 6 de octubre de 2023, Rad. 10013-103027-2023-00229-00 (0327) This is the case of “Simona,” the dog in a family that went through a divorce in 2021. The husband, acting as the plaintiff, filed a lawsuit in the third Family Court to establish a visitation arrangement for their beloved companion, “Simona,” who lived with his ex-wife. The plaintiff argued that Simona was an integral part of their family and that both Simona and him had been emotionally impacted since the separation, as the defendant contended that visitations were distressing for Simona. The plaintiff further contended that Simona used to sleep with him and watch movies, but since she could no longer do so, Simona had become depressed and refused to eat. The family court dismissed the case, stating that it fell under the civil court’s jurisdiction. The Superior Tribunal of Bogotá resolved the jurisdictional conflict between the third Family Court and the twenty-seventh Civil Circuit Court.
Sentencia Caso Humberto José Saldaña Taboada contra la Municipalidad Provincial de Trujillo - Peru En este caso, el demandante demandó al alcalde de Trujillo, Perú, exigiendo el cumplimiento de una ordenanza que exigía al municipio a proporcionar refugio temporal para los perros. Trujillo carecía de un refugio municipal para perros y utilizaba el Centro Antirrábico, que no cumplía con los requisitos legales. La ciudad argumentó que la ordenanza tenía como objetivo gestionar a los perros potencialmente peligrosos, no proteger a los abandonados, y albergaba a los perros en el Centro Antirrábico debido a su comportamiento agresivo. Los tribunales de primeras instancias fallaron en contra del demandante, interpretando que la ordenanza solo se aplicaba a los perros potencialmente peligrosos. Sin embargo, el Tribunal Constitucional encontró leyes contradictorias respecto a las responsabilidades de la ciudad y revocó la decisión, ordenando a Trujillo proporcionar un refugio adecuado o colaborar con organizaciones sin ánimo de lucro para albergar a los perros callejeros.
Sentencia de Tutela Juzgado 3 de Bucaramanga de 25 de julio de 2017 Sentencia de Tutela Juzgado 3 de Bucaramanga This is the first time an animal, more specifically a dog, filed a lawsuit seeking that the government grant protection for the dog’s rights to life and health. The judge denied the action of "tutela" filed by the dog ("Negro") based on the definition of person given by the civil code. As a result, the judge concluded that "Negro" was not a person and therefore was not entitled to have rights. However, there is a possibility that the Constitutional Court on appeal will grant the plaintiff the rights he is seeking based on Decision T-622 de 2016, where the court declared that a river was subject to rights that guarantee its protection, conservation, maintenance, and restoration, and that the government was the main guarantor of these rights.
Sentencia Jane Margarita Cósar Camacho y otros contra Resolucion De Fojas 258 - Perros guia - Espanol- Peru (2014) Exp No. 02437-2013 La demandante, una mujer con discapacidad visual, presentó una demanda constitucional contra la decisión emitida por la Quinta Sala Civil de la Corte Superior de Justicia de Lima el 15 de enero de 2013. Esta decisión negó la acción de amparo después de que los demandados le negaran la entrada a la perra guía de la demandante en sus supermercados. El Tribunal Constitucional ordenó que se permitiera a las personas ciegas ingresar a los supermercados con sus perros guía.
Sentencia Penal Caso "Dachi", 2023 - Peru 01128-2023-0-1814-JR-PE-03 En este asunto, un hombre apuñaló repetidamente al perro de su novia, "Dachi", después de que ella le confesara que tenía una aventura con su amigo. El hombre había estado bebiendo y tomando drogas y, en su ira, actuó violentamente contra Dachi como venganza contra su novia. Dachi sobrevivió, pero los veterinarios no estaban seguros de cuánto tiempo viviría ni de su calidad de vida. Más tarde se descubrió que el hombre tenía inestabilidades psicológicas y había cometido varios delitos más. Fue declarado culpable de delitos contra la propiedad y crueldad con los animales y se le impuso una pena de encarcelamiento y una multa civil.
Sentencia STC1926-2023 Sentencia STC1926-2023 Romeo and Salvador, two beloved family dogs that found themselves in the center of a heartbreaking divorce. The divorce resulted in the family judge ordering the foreclosure of the dogs in the divorce proceeding. The plaintiff filed a writ of protection or "Recurso de Tutela" before the Chamber of Civil Cassation of the Supreme Court of Justice to protect her rights to family unity, free personality development, and health. Furthermore, she argued that the lower court decision had violated not just her rights but her children's rights, who had developed a filial bond with the dogs, as they are sentient beings and not just mere property. The Court denied the "tutela." It affirmed the lower court decision allowing foreclosure upon companion animals, holding that the "tutela" was not the appropriate legal mechanism to protect procedural guarantees. In his dissenting opinion, Magistrate Aroldo Wilson Quiróz stated that the court had missed a valuable opportunity to address the issue of the multispecies families in Colombia. This novel legal concept is supported under Art. 42 of the Constitution, and that it was the responsibility of the court, as the body of last instance, to delve into this subject, pointing out the fact that even though animals are considered property, they are also sentient beings in the eyes of the law with rights that limit the right to own them. Like in other family cases, the magistrate suggested that courts should address issues such as custody, visitation rights, and alimony payments when companion animals are involved.
Sentencia T-095, 2016 Sentencia T-095/16 In this decision, the court drew a line between the concept of animal welfare and the concept of animal rights. The court continues to see animal protection from a moral perspective when it states animals do not necessarily have rights, even though they should be treated with respect and should not be abused. The Plaintiff brought an action of ‘tutela’ (Constitutional mechanism that is preferential and summary, created for the sole purpose of protection of fundamental rights) against ‘la Personería Local of Fontibón’, the local Mayor’s office of Fontibon, the District Secretary of Health, the Zoonosis Center and the Distril Secretary of the environment of Bogota. The Plaintiff argued that these governmental entities had violated his fundamental right to petition and the right to animal welfare of twenty five dogs, when the authorities ordered the confiscation the canines that were located in the District Ecological Park of the Wetland of Capellanía and who were cared for by volunteers. The Plaintiff argued that the Defendants did not respond to his request to provide funds to build a shelter and provide food and veterinary assistance of the dogs or funds to relocate them. The Plaintiff sought a response from governmental authorities on the petition and to provide the funds to save the animals, thereby avoiding the Zoonosis Center to assume their care, who would euthanize the sick animals that were not adopted after five days of being up for adoption. The lower court denied the protection of the fundamental right to petition, as it found that the authorities responded to the petition of the Plaintiff in a clear and timely matter by denying the request to fund the Plaintiff to relocate the dogs or build a shelter for them. In regards to the right to animal welfare, the lower court considered it was a legal rather than a constitutional issue, therefore the action of ‘tutela’ was not the appropriate mechanism as its purpose is to guarantee the protection of fundamental rights. The court held that there was a constitutional duty of animal protection that derives from the duty to protect the environment. However, this duty to guarantee the well-being of animals as sentient beings is not absolute and may be subject to exceptions. The court determines that the mandate to protect the environment, which includes sentient beings, does not translate into a right to animal welfare, and for that reason such duty is not enforceable through an action of tutela. The duty to protect animals presumes an obligation to care and prohibits maltreatment and cruelty against animals, unless these actions come from one of the limits stipulated in the constitution. The court affirmed the lower court decision to deny the protection to the right to petition and declared the inadmissibility of the action of tutela for the protection of animal welfare.
Settle v. Commonwealth 55 Va.App. 212, 685 S.E.2d 182 (Va.,2009)

The defendant-appellant, Charles E. Settle, Jr., was convicted of two counts of inadequate care by owner of companion animals and one count of dog at large under a county ordinance, after Fauquier County Sherriff's officers were dispatched to his home on multiple occasions over the course of one calendar year in response to animal noise and health and safety complaints from his neighbors.  Consequently, all of the affected dogs were seized from Settle and relocated to local animal shelters.  The trial court also declared three of the animals to be dangerous dogs pursuant to another county ordinance.  The Court of Appeals of Virginia held that: (1) because the forfeiture of dogs was a civil matter the Court of Appeals lacked subject matter jurisdiction and was not the proper forum to decide the case; (2) that Settle failed to join the County as an indispensible party in the notice of appeal from conviction for the county ordinance violation; and (3) that the evidence was sufficient to identify Settle as the owner of the neglected companion animals.

Sexton v. Brown Not Reported in P.3d, 147 Wash.App. 1005, 2008 WL 4616705 (Wash.App. Div. 1)

In this Washington case, Valeri Sexton and Corey Recla sued Kenny Brown, DVM, for damages arising from the death of their dog. Plaintiffs alleged a number of causes of action including negligence, breach of bailment, conversion, and trespass to chattels. The incident occurred after plaintiff's dog ran away while plaintiff was camping Marblemount area. Another party found the Yorkshire terrier and took it to defendant-veterinarian's office, the Pet Emergency Center (PEC). After being examined first by a one veterinarian, defendant-veterinarian Brown took over care and determined that the dog suffered from a life threatening condition; he then told the finders that if they did not want to pay for further care, they could have the dog euthanized. This court affirmed the trial court's decision that the medical malpractice act does not apply to veterinarians. It also affirmed the dismissal of Sexton's breach of bailment claim, finding that Brown was not a finder under relevant Washington law. The court did find that there were material issues of fact about the measure of damages, and reversed the decision to limit damages to the fair market or replacement value of the dog. Further, the court found genuine issues of material fact about whether Brown's actions were justified when viewed under the requirements of Washington's veterinary practice laws.

Shelvey v. Bicknell 1996CarswellBC1131

Both plaintiff (appellant) Shelvey and the defendant (respondent) dog owners were guests of an unnamed third party at that party's beach cabin, where the defendants left their Rottweiler unrestrained on the cabin's deck overnight. The friendly dog jumped over the deck railing to follow the plaintiff to the beach where she was walking; the large, energetic dog bumped her legs while playfully chasing a seagull, knocking her down and leaving her unconscious. The dog had previously knocked its owner and a child down at one time due to its large size and weight. A trial judge earlier found that the defendant owners were not liable to the plaintiff in negligence as the freak accident was not reasonably foreseeable; the Court of Appeal concurred, finding no negligence. Scienter was not argued or discussed at either level.

Shera v. N.C. State University Veterinary Teaching Hosp. 723 S.E.2d 352 (N.C. Ct. App. 2012)

After an animal hospital caused the death of a dog due to an improperly placed feeding tube, the dog owners sued for veterinary malpractice under the Tort Claims Act. The Court of Appeals held that the replacement value of the dog was the appropriate measure of damages, and not the intrinsic value. Owners’ emotional bond with the dog was not compensable under North Carolina law.

Sherman v. Kissinger 195 P.3d 539 (Wash.,2008)

A dog owner sued a veterinarian and a veterinary hospital after her dog died. The Court of Appeals held that the medical malpractice act did not apply to veterinarians, and thus, did not bar claims for breach of fiduciary duty, negligent misrepresentation, conversion, trespass to chattels, and breach of bailment contract; the three-part analysis in McCurdy controlled the measure of damages and the burden of proof for damages; genuine issues of material fact about the market value of the dog, whether it could be replaced, and whether owner was entitled to present evidence of the dog’s intrinsic value, precluded summary judgment limiting owner's damages; the trial court did not abuse its discretion in striking expert’s testimony about the loss of the human-animal bond because owner was not entitled to emotional distress damages; and defendants were not entitled to attorney fees under the small claims statute.

Shotts v. City of Madison 170 So. 3d 554 (Miss. Ct. App. 2014) Defendant was charged with animal cruelty after burning his girlfriend's dog while giving it a bath. He said it was an accident. There were no other witnesses, and the attending veterinarian testified that the dog's injuries were consistent with defendant's account. Defendant was nevertheless convicted after the county court suggested he could be guilty of animal cruelty if he had “carelessly” hurt the dog. Instead, the appeals court found the lower court applied the wrong legal standard. The 2011 animal cruelty statute, since repealed, that applied in this case required proof beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant acted maliciously. Since the prosecution failed to meet that burden, the Mississippi Court of Appeals reversed and rendered the defendant's conviction. Justice James dissents finding that there was sufficient evidence to support the conviction.
Shumate v. Drake University 846 N.W.2d 503 (Iowa. 2014) Plaintiff Shumate was barred from bringing a dog that she was training, into the classroom and to another school event. Shumate worked as a service dog trainer, while she was a student at Drake University Law School, the Defendant in this case. In 2011, Shumate filed a lawsuit alleging that Drake University discriminated against her as a service dog trainer in violation of Iowa Code chapter 216C. She alleged that chapter 216C, implicitly provided service dog trainers with a private right to sue. The Supreme Court of Iowa held that the statute does not provide service dog trainers with a private right to sue, nor did it include them under the coverage of chapter 216. The Court reasoned that although Shumate trained dogs to assist the disabled, she was not covered because she is not a person with a disability. The Court stated that closely related statutes expressly created private enforcement actions to aid the disabled while chapter 216C does not. Because an implied right of action would circumvent the procedures of the Iowa Civil Rights Act, the Iowa legislature purposely omitted a private right to sue from chapter 216C. The court vacated the decision of the court of appeals and affirmed the district court's judgment dismissing Shumate's petition with prejudice.
Siegert v. Crook County 266 P.3d 170 (Or.App., 2011)

An individual appealed County Court’s decision to approve the location of a dog breeding kennel in a zone where such kennels were not permitted. The county interpreted the code that was in effect at the time the kennel began operating to allow dog breeding as animal husbandry, and thus permissible farm use. The Court of Appeals found the county's interpretation to be plausible.

Silver v. United States 726 A.2d 191 (D.C. App. 1999)

Appellants were each convicted of cruelty to animals, in violation of D.C. Code Ann. §   22-801 (1996), and of engaging in animal fighting, in violation of §   22-810. On appeal, both appellants contended that the evidence was insufficient to support convictions of animal cruelty, and of animal fighting. The appellate court found that the proof was sufficient. Each appellant also contended that his convictions merged because animal cruelty was a lesser-included offense of animal fighting. The appellate court found that each crime required proof of an element that the other did not. Appellants' convictions did not merge.

Sinclair v. Okata 874 F. Supp. 1051 (D.Alaska,1994)

Defendants are able to present a genuine question of fact regarding whether they were on notice of their dog's vicious propensity given their characterization of the four prior biting incidents as "behavioral responses common to all dogs."  Defendants' expert concluded that each time, Anchor's responses were "natural" or instinctive.  Plaintiffs offer no evidence, through expert testimony or otherwise, to refute the opinion of defendants' expert. 

Sixth Angel Shepherd Rescue Inc. v. Pennsylvania SPCA 2011 WL 605697 (2011) (Slip Copy)

Plaintiff dog rescue received a shipment of dogs from a North Carolina animal shelter. Joseph Loughlin, a warden from the Pennsylvania Dog Law Enforcement Bureau, and officials from the Pennsylvania SPCA (“PSPCA”) seized the dogs. Plaintiff filed suit seeking a court order for the return of the dogs. Loughlin mailed to Plaintiff’s counsel a citation for violating the Pennsylvania Dog Law. Plaintiff filed this action, alleging malicious prosecution, abuse of process, a claim that both §§ 459-209(b) and 459-603(c) are unconstitutional, and damages for defamation and “derogatory publication.” The court dismissed all claims except for those relating to the Pennsylvania Dog Law, The court held that the as-applied dormant Commerce Clause challenges to §§ 459-209(b) and 459-603(c) were not ripe and moot, respectively. The First Amendment challenge to § 459-603(c) failed because the statute was not unconstitutionally vague.

Sixth Angel Shepherd Rescue, Inc v. Bengal 2011 WL 4867541 (C.A.3 (Pa.),2011)

Sixth Angel Shepherd Rescue rescued three dogs from North Carolina and had them delivered to Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement seized them and turned them over to Appellants PSPCA. The District Court ordered Appellants to return the dogs to Sixth Angel based on a state law conversion claim. The motion was affirmed because PSPCA deprived Sixth Angel of its unique property. Returning the dogs to their owner served the public interest by settling property rights and allowing Sixth Angel to fulfill its mission of finding homes for the dogs.

Sligar v. Odell 233 P.3d 914 (Wash.App. Div. 1, 2010)

In this Washington case, plaintiff Sligar was bitten on the finger by the Odells' dog after Sligar's finger protruded through a hole in the six-foot high chain link fence that separated their two properties. The court found the dispositive question was whether, pursuant to RCW 16.08.040 and .050 (a law that defines when entry onto the property of the dog owner is for a lawful purpose) Sligar's finger was “lawfully in or on ... the property of the” Odells at the time of the dog bite. The court found that the statute provides that consent may not be presumed where the property is fenced. Concerning the common law negligence claim, Sligar contends that the Odells were negligent in failing to protect her from harm because they failed to erect a solid fence on the property boundary until after the bite occurred. However, the court had previously found that it is not unreasonable to keep a dog in a fenced backyard where the dog has not shown any dangerous propensities.

Smith v. City of New York 889 N.Y.S.2d 187 (N.Y.A.D. 1 Dept.,2009)

This New York appeal reversed the lower court's judgment finding Officer Smith strictly liable for dog-bite injuries sustained by infant plaintiffs. The court found that, in the limited time the officer spent with the dog, the dog acted friendly, playful, and "rambunctious." He did not see the dog growl or lunge at the plaintiff and her family, who were sitting in the precinct house. The testimony adduced at trial did not establish that Officer Smith knew or should have known of the dog's vicious propensities. Further, the court found the evidence was insufficient to show that Officer Smith owned the dog. Rather, he took temporary custody of the abandoned dog with the intention to transport him to the ASPCA, and the dog was in his possession for, at most, a few hours.

Pages